An underestimated size, many plus points and always up to date: Whoever buys a smartphone from Google, i.e. acquires the hardware from the manufacturer of the Android operating system, is doing a lot right.

Because Google delivers its devices called pixels with an untinkered original operating system, which with its puristic appearance is a beneficial counterweight to the ballast that other manufacturers such as Samsung Android complain about.

Michael Spehr

Editor in the "Technology and Engine" department.

  • Follow I follow

A pixel is pure Google, and that's a good thing.

In addition, the American group donated some software extras to its in-house devices, which only ended up much later on other androids.

And a third argument: When it comes to the camera, Google never comes up with the most expensive optics, but optimizes the image material in a pleasing way with clever software.

Taking all the plus points together, there is still no lasting success, the pixel smartphones remain exotic without a significant market share.

The fingerprint scanner is unreliable

We've been testing the latest Pixel for a while.

The Pixel 6a is the entry-level model, it is based in many ways on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, both of which debuted last fall.

We had the Pixel 6 Pro for many months and then switched to a Samsung because the unreliable biometric fingerprint scanner is annoying every time we unlock it.

You can't do that to yourself every day.

Now that Google has had enough time to fix a well-known problem, we were excited.

The Pixel 6a is slightly smaller than its older siblings, its display measures 6.1 instead of 6.4 and 6.7 inches and remains true to the design of the 6 series.

However, only the front is made of glass, plastic is used on the back, so the case looks a bit cheaper than that of the 6 and 6 Pro.

The newcomer also relies on a Google processor, the Tensor Processing Unit, which is supplemented by a Titan M2 security chip.

The borrowings from Apple's system architecture are unmistakable.

Here, too, the self-developed processor should shine in applications related to artificial intelligence and machine learning.

For example, it is possible to start an interpreter mode that translates English, Japanese and German in real time, and, if you are online, many other languages ​​as well.

Interesting is the possibility that the Android recorder app simultaneously transcribes an audio recording and you can display a live translation of videos on YouTube, for example.

However, both the translation and the transcription are far from perfect, but more of a makeshift.

The 6a has a similarly high working speed as the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.

However, the RAM with six gigabytes lags behind the two big siblings, which can ancestors with eight and twelve gigabytes.

128 gigabytes are available for your own data, and there is no variant with more memory.

The camera unit lacks a telephoto

The device and screen respond quickly, but the display refresh rate lags behind at 60 Hertz.

The Pixel 6 has 90 Hertz, the 6 Pro even 120 Hertz.

The resolution of 2400 × 1080 pixels is pleasing, as is the Oled technology with strong contrasts and an amazingly high maximum brightness.

Compared to the older Pixel 6 models, the camera department lacks telephoto.

Instead, a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera and an ultra-wide-angle camera with the same resolution are used.

The missing telephoto lens cannot be replaced with software tricks either; the Pixel 6a falls behind its siblings here.

In all other situations, the image quality is comparable.

The 5G device supports e-sim and WiFi 6. It comes with Android 12 and will be one of the first devices to receive Android 13.

And what about the fingerprint reader?

It remains the main point of criticism with the Pixel 6a because it does not work precisely and quickly.

Colleagues have found that it is also not secure, you can unlock the device with other people's fingerprints.

With a price of 460 euros, the Pixel 6a is cheap.

The next larger Pixel 6 costs 650 euros at Google.

Since it has been on the market for a long time, it has a street price of around 500 euros.

From this point of view, it is also worth taking a look at the Pixel 6 if it is supposed to be a smartphone from Google.